By Sospeter Otieno via Star
I have watched Mudavadi’s political moves since I was in my single digits, and a consistent and predictable streak is evident.
At the core of his survival “manifesto” has been some determination to have a “umbilical Cord” that connects him to the government. Of course the beginnings of his political career were within the inner sanctums of the KANU establishment, where his profile rose, and he held various ministries, among them Agriculture and Finance.
And his best attempt at being outside government was when he joined the Raila led Rainbow rebellion. However, as expected Mudavadi didn’t have the stamina to stay in the race to the finish line, and soon rejoined KANU, in a deal that saw him appointed as VP, abeit for 2 months.
He would soon fall from grace when he lost the Sabatia parliamentary seat succumbing to a multi-pronged battle waged from across the political divide when his detractors ganged up to ensure “anybody but Mudavadi prevailed”. So many political suitors who wanted to “own”, not work with Mudavadi had been disappointed. Ruto, Raila, Moi, Jirongo all had different reasons to “take down” Mudavadi. That is how Moses Akaranga was able to wage a well oiled machinery that floored Mudavadi.
With his parliamentary seat gone, and Moi political machine vanquished by NARC, Mudavadi needed a straw to clutch on. And Mudavadi saw no other complementary person like Raila Odinga who as a “Principal” within the Narc government, was a reliable umbilical cord that connected him to the government.
And Mudavadi’s decision was right. Raila went round with him, and pleaded with Kenyans to forgive him for abandoning them at their hour of need in 2002. Fast forward to 2007, and the man written off as finished had reincarnated ripe and ready to be a worthy running mate of Raila Odinga.
Well, he was rewarded heavily when Raila got the chance to appoint half the bloated Cabinet of 42, with Mudavadi getting a lifeline as a Deputy Prime Minister. Kibaki would in the run up to 2013, dangle a bait, whereby Mudavadi read speeches on behalf of Kibaki in a make believe fairy tale intended to make Mudavadi appear as the Kibaki chosen heir. It would have looked tribal for Kibaki to openly appear to be supporting a fellow tribesman.
Hoodwinked, Mudavadi swallowed the bait and quit ODM to join a UDF party founded by Kibaki’s statehouse insiders. Analysts believe this was part of a larger script meant to divide the Western Kenya vote and to instill a notion of a Raila vulnerability in the face of a divided Western.
And as we all know now, it is very controversial as to whether Uhuru would ever have “won” 50%+1 without the Kibaki State House machinations that included the Mudavadi project that skimmed the Raila-Uhuru margin. Mudavadi’s first agenda post 2013, was reaching out to the winner in which he “unconditionally surrendered” Amani to the mercy of Jubilee.
And no-one should doubt that Western has enough votes- if well registered and religiously turned out- to make Mudavadi a formidable force. The challenge is whether Mudavadi has the wherewithal to inspire them to rally behind his numerous calls for Luhya Unity.
Like a “7 headed snake”, we already have other power centers emerging left right and center in Western.
Eugene Wamalwa’s appointment into the cabinet gives him a spine to re-invent himself ahead of 2017. Eugene has always been Uhuru’s preferred right hand man having played “running-mate” during the launch of Uhuru’s 2013 vehicle TNA.
Eugene’s place in New Ford K was taken by the Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka who became the New Ford K leader. Lusaka’s election as the media liaison person within the Council of Governors gives him national visibility that represent new surprises whose end game is unpredictable.
We also have Ababu Namwamba as SG of Kenya’s single largest party,ODM, certainly not a man to ignore given his flamboyance, eloquence, romantic exhibitions, pageantry and media savviness. Then you throw in Moses Wetangula with his many hats – Cord Co Principal, Ford Kenya Leader and Senate Minority Leader.
The Namwamba-Wetangula axis boast a formidable ally in Raila Odinga. Whether its the 2002 Raila-Wamalwa-Moody axis, or the 2007 Raila-Mudavadi or the 2013 Raila-Wetangula, any alliance with Raila Odinga in Western has been the most dominant winning most seats and felling political giants.
Just when Mudavadi thought the “snake heads” are manned, the Marende-Jirongo axis pops up with their new-found UDP party. Yet like Mudavadi, Marende has his political roots also from Vihiga. And so someone, most likely a Principal within Jubilee, seems intent on taking on Mudavadi right at his hometurf. That’s really “hard-squeeze” on Mudavadi whose political alliance Amani has caucused with Jubilee on all issues, good or evil. The only time Amani has made noise is when they have complained of Luhya professionals not being appointed to Jubilee government.
Mudavadi’s response to the emergence of UDP was that “Marende’s party is guided by selfish interests”- euphemism for project. And I believe him because no person is better placed to smell a project when he sees one than Mudavadi.
These emerging centers seem designed to push Mudavadi into supporting Jubilee on their own terms. Unless he does something dramatic very soon, he will soon be a cornered man. Will Raila come to his rescue? For him to salvage himself, he has to be ready to cut the umbilical cord and join the trenches, from where he can reinvent himself before Jubilee honchos delivers that last blow. Time is fast running out.